<br /> Lee Letter: b378

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Richard Henry Lee
Recipient: John Jones


My sentiments of the new constitution, in its present form, having been already communicated to the public, it is not necessary here to repeat my objections; nor will it be wondered, that, with such sentiments, I should declare my willingness to serve in the senate of the new Congress, where, in my judgment, the best opportunity will be afforded of doing the most essential services to the community, and especially at its first institution when amendments so necessary for the security of civil liberty, will probably be the most attainable. I do assure you, sir, that nothing but the reverence I have for the liberties of my country, and a thorough conviction of the danger these will be exposed to by the unamended state of the new constitution, could have induced me to consent again to become a public man; but where the peace, happiness, and freedom of my country seems concerned, all private considerations will, I hope, with me, forever give place. It is impossible that amendments can fail to be recommended by the new Congress, if the legislatures shall send to that body such men as are known friends to civil liberty, and to the amendments that have been proposed by many respectable states, and are desired by such numbers of respectable citizens; but to be sure, if characters shall be appointed to the new government, who are so zealously attached to it as to be incapable of seeing faults in it, the friends of just government may be disappointed in their views of amendments, however ardently, and generally, it may be desired. I have the honor to be, Sir,

Your most obedient and very humble servant, –

Richard Henry Lee



Printed in R. H. Lee, Memoir of Richard Henry Lee, 2:94. Printed also in James Curtis Ballagh, The Letters of Richard Henry Lee, Volume 2, 1779 – 1794, pp. 478 – 79.